The Trust. Debt Write off Policy. Neighbourhood Management Team. Draft: Final. Effective Date: July Affected Teams: All

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1 The Trust Debt Write off Policy Neighbourhood Management Team Draft: Final Effective Date: July 2014 Affected Teams: All PPHT Debt Write Off Policy Page 1 of 6

2 Table of Contents 1. INTRODUCTION POLICY STATEMENT IMPLEMENTATION REINSTATING A DEBT RESPONSIBILITY CONSULTATION MONITORING AND REVIEW EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND ACCESS IMPLICATIONS DEBT WRITE OFF OPERATIONAL RISKS ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS POLICY INFORMATION... 6 PPHT Debt Write Off Policy Page 2 of 6

3 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Peaks & Plains Housing Trust (the Trust) aims to collect the maximum amount of rental income, rechargeable repairs, other charges and debts promptly from tenants, former tenants and organisations, in order to protect the provision of services. 1.2 This policy relates to all debts due to the Trust where the recovery process of such debt has been exhausted. This policy document relates to other Trust policies, in particular the Rent Collection and Arrears Management Policy, Rechargeable Repairs Policy and the Repairs and Maintenance Policy. 1.3 A bad debt is an outstanding sum of money owed to the Trust that has not been paid, despite repeated efforts to collect the debt. 1.4 Current rent arrears are not viewed as bad debts, as continued efforts are ongoing to collect any outstanding rent arrears monies. However, at the Income Officer s discretion, they should recommend small current arrears to write off, where all efforts to collect the debt have been exhausted, or the value is so small that it is uneconomical to pursue further. 1.5 There are two separate categories of Bad Debts, those relating to rent arrears and those relating to non rent arrears. 1.6 Where a debt is included in a Debt Relief Order, Bankruptcy Order or any other such insolvency order the Trust will treat the debt in accordance with the guidance set out by the Insolvency Service. 2. POLICY STATEMENT 2.1 Writing off a bad debt will only be considered when the recovery process has been exhausted. 2.2 The Trust will comply with the requirements of regulatory organisations. 2.3 Debts will be passed for write off at the end of each financial quarter. 3. IMPLEMENTATION 3.1 When it is established that a debt is irrecoverable or uneconomical to pursue, the debt will be recommended for write off. 3.3 Debtors will be categorised as follows: - Deceased Tenants Cases will be considered for write off where: - There is no response to letters to the next of kin The next of kin/solicitor/administrator responds in writing that there were insufficient funds left in the deceased estate to clear the debt. Where no next of kin/solicitor/administrator is known. PPHT Debt Write Off Policy March 2011 Page 3 of 6

4 Where the tenant has died and there is no estate. No trace Where there has been no trace of the debtor using both internal procedures and external agencies. Value Where the value of the debt equates to less than Where the debt is considered uneconomical to pursue. Exhausted Where all recovery procedures have been exhausted. The debt is 6 years old or over 3.4 All debts being considered for write off will be written off in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation as detailed below on a quarterly basis. Scheme of Delegation Debt Amount Debt type Assistant Director of Housing ,000 Rent debts Assistant Director of Finance ,000 Non rental debts Director of Resources 1,000-5,000 Rent debts & non rental debts Chief Executive 1,000-5,000 Rent debts & non rental debts Board 5,000 + Rent debts & non rental debts 4. REINSTATING A DEBT 4.1 Debts previously written off will be reinstated where an address or contact has been established with the debtor. Once reinstated it will be collected in line with other rental income, rechargeable repairs, other charges and debts. If the debt becomes irrecoverable or uneconomical to pursue in the future in may be written off in line with Section 3 of this policy. 5. RESPONSIBILITY 5.1 The responsibility of the implementation of this policy will lie with the Director of Resources. 5.2 Responsibility for the implementation of the procedures and effective daily operation of this policy lie with the Assistant Director of Service for the area of debt. 6. CONSULTATION 6.1 The Trust will consult via the Trusts established Resident Involvement Framework. PPHT Debt Write Off Policy March 2011 Page 4 of 6

5 7. MONITORING AND REVIEW 7.1 The Trust will review its Debt Write off Policy every 2 years in consultation with its tenants. 7.2 Regular reports will be submitted to the Board that will gauge performance against those standards expected by the relevant regulatory organisations and against the Trust s own targets and performance measures. 8. EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND ACCESS IMPLICATIONS 8.1 The Trust has completed an Equality Impact Assessment on this process. It represents low risk and no potential negative impacts have been identified. 9. DEBT WRITE OFF OPERATIONAL RISKS 9.1 The Trust understands the risks surrounding ineffective management of debt write offs. The approach to managing debt write offs outlined in this document aims to manage and minimise these risks. The risks detailed below will be managed on an operational basis by the Income, Repairs and Finance Teams depending on the source of the debt. The identified risks are: Negative effect on the reputation the Trust with our funders Failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements and performance standards Failure to act fairly and in accordance with the Trust s Diversity Strategy Poor performance in writing off irrecoverable debts, leading to an increase in number. The potential for mismanagement and fraud of the Trust s assets Not fully utilising the Trust s resources in relation to rent collection Poor performance management Impact on staff morale through poor performance 10. ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS Customer Care Policy Tenancy Management Policy and Staff Procedure Guide Handbook Rent Collection and Arrears Management Policy Former Tenant Arrears Policy Rechargeable Repairs Policy Tenants Handbook The Trusts Service Standards Corporate Debt Policy PPHT Debt Write Off Policy March 2011 Page 5 of 6

6 11. POLICY INFORMATION Policy Name: Status: Approved by: Area Owned By: Debt Write off Policy Debt Write off Policy Audit & Risk Committee Assistant Director of Housing Date approved: 3 July 2014 Next Review Date: July 2016 PPHT Debt Write Off Policy March 2011 Page 6 of 6

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